Keimena #25: Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams

Monday June 5, 2017, 24:00 on ERT2
Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams, 2016, Australia, 27 min.
Director: Karrabing Film Collective

Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams (2016) was conceived and produced by the Karrabing Film Collective, an extended family whose Indigenous lands stretch across the western coast of Australia’s Northern Territory.

Like all Karrabing films, Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams is based on real events. Across a series of flashbacks, an Indigenous family argues about what caused their boat’s motor to break down, leaving them stranded in the bush. As they consider the roles played in the incident by the ancestral present, the regulatory state, and the Christian faith, Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams explores the demands and difficulties of contemporary Indigenous life.

Karrabing Film Collective work without a script. The rough plot of each film is fashioned during group conversations, and dialogue is improvised. Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams was shot on three iPhones, capturing the events from three different angles. They then collaborated with artist and filmmaker Begonia Colomar to realize the ancestral color design. This is their most ambitious film to date.

Karrabing takes their name from an Emmiyangal word meaning “low tide” or “tide out!” This is the farthest point from land that the sea reaches before making its way back to shore. Karrabing does not have the negative connotations of the English phrase, “low ebb.” There is nothing “low” about the tide reaching karrabing. All kinds of possibilities spring forward. Karrabing is not a clan, not a language group, not a nation. It is an aspiration for a world in which its Indigenous members control their lands, imaginations, pasts, and futures.

—Karrabing Film Collective

Posted in Public TV on 06.05.2017